Orioles' Mike Wright gets pounded by Jays, then demoted
- Baltimore starter Mike Wright surrendered eight runs in 3 2/3 innings.
- Ubaldo Jimenez yielded five run in 2 1/3 innings of relief for the Orioles.
- Toronto hit five homers, including three by Michael Saunders.
BALTIMORE — The jeers resonated throughout Camden Yards as the Toronto Blue Jays lashed one hit after another off beleaguered Orioles right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez.
Jimenez was merely the latest in a series of pitchers who have struggled against the hard-hitting Blue Jays recently. In fact, his numbers weren't as poor as those of Baltimore starter Mike Wright.
Toronto hit five home runs, including three by Michael Saunders, and rolled to a 13-3 victory Friday night.
Wright surrendered eight runs in 3 2/3 innings and Jimenez yielded five in 2 1/3 innings.
"I threw some good pitches, threw some bad pitches," Wright said. "They hit them both."
Wright emerged from the game with a 6.12 ERA. Afterward, the right-hander was optioned to Triple-A Norfolk.
Jimenez was making his first appearance this season as a reliever after losing his place in the rotation following a series of poor outings. This performance didn't serve as an indication he's close to turning things around.
It all added up a lopsided defeat that cut the first-place Orioles' lead over the surging Blue Jays in the AL East to one game.
Saunders connected with two on in the first inning, added another three-run drive in the fourth and finished up with a two-run shot in the sixth.
Batting in the eighth inning against T.J. McFarland and with the chance to tie the major league record of four homers in a game, Saunders bounced into a bases-loaded double play.
That did little to ruin Saunders' finest game in the big leagues since he debuted with Seattle in 2009. He raised his home run total for the season to 15, second-most in his career behind the 19 he hit for the Mariners in 2012.
"Michael's in an excellent groove," manager John Gibbons said. "He's had a great year for us, showing good power. He's using the whole field too. He's not just hitting home runs pull-side. He's driving some balls out there the other way, Great effort by him."
Saunders' first two home runs were opposite-field pokes to left. In eight games against Baltimore this season, Saunders is 18 for 33 with five home runs and 12 RBIs.
"He's doing a lot of good things for them," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "He's handling left-handed pitching, too. He gives them some real protection for those guys."
Josh Donaldson and Justin Smoak also homered for the Blue Jays, who have outscored the opposition 65-32 in their last seven games.
"We're built to hit, just like them," Gibbons said. "Pitching wins it, but you've got to slug it out in this division. We play in those small ballparks, and if you can't score you're not going to win. That's just a fact. But we've been on a nice little roll."
Saunders led the charge in this one. His first homer gave Toronto the lead for good, and his second of the night was the key blow in a seven-run fourth inning that made it 11-2.
Aaron Sanchez (7-1) allowed two runs and seven hits over six innings to earn his second win over the Orioles in a six-day span.
Ryan Flaherty homered for Baltimore in the ninth.
Blue Jays: SS Troy Tulowitzki (right quad) is close to coming off the DL. "You might see him in the next couple days," Gibbons said.
Orioles: SS J.J. Hardy (fractured left foot) will come off the DL on Saturday, Showalter said.
Blue Jays: Knuckleballer R.A. Dickey (4-7, 4.16 ERA) starts on Saturday in the second game of the series. He's 2-6 lifetime against the Orioles.
Orioles: Yovani Gallardo (1-1, 7.00) comes off the DL to make his first start since being sidelined in late April with right shoulder biceps tendinitis.